Why would Am­gen want to buy Alex­ion? An­a­lysts call hot­ly ru­mored takeover un­like­ly, but seize the mo­ment

A ru­mor that Am­gen is clos­ing in on buy­out deal for Alex­ion has sparked a guess­ing game on just what kind of M&A strat­e­gy Am­gen is pur­su­ing and how much Alex­ion is worth.

Mizuho an­a­lyst Sal­im Syed first lent cre­dence to the re­port out of the Span­ish news out­let In­tere­conomía, which said Am­gen is bid­ding as much as $200 per share. While the source may be ques­tion­able, “the con­cept of this hap­pen­ing doesn’t sound too crazy to me,” he wrote.

Alex­ion $ALXN, which opened at $113.6 Thurs­day, end­ed the day up 8% at $123.49.

The deal — or any fur­ther ev­i­dence of it — has yet to ma­te­ri­al­ize, and a num­ber of an­a­lysts are fill­ing the void with their own takes on why it prob­a­bly nev­er will.

Yaron Wer­ber Cowen

“In our view, such com­bi­na­tion does not make strate­gic sense and would not fit Am­gen’s strate­gic ma­trix,” Yaron Wer­ber of Cowen be­gan. “Such a deal would roll Am­gen back­wards just as it is be­gin­ning to see a new dawn of growth ahead.”

Cit­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with man­age­ment, Wer­ber added that Alex­ion — de­spite its lu­cra­tive rare dis­ease port­fo­lio — does not seem to check any box­es for Am­gen. The biotech’s or­phan fo­cus ap­pears at best an awk­ward fit to Am­gen’s ex­per­tise in on­col­o­gy, in­flam­ma­tion and car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­or­ders. More im­por­tant­ly, swal­low­ing Alex­ion and its Solirus cash cow would mean deal­ing with more patents and biosim­i­lars at a time Am­gen is try­ing to move away from lega­cy prod­ucts, he not­ed.

In fact, Am­gen is be­hind one of these biosim­i­lars go­ing af­ter Alex­ion’s star C5 an­ti­body, with a Phase III tri­al un­der­way.

Ge­of­frey Porges SVB Leerink

How­ev­er Am­gen would go about re­solv­ing that di­rect com­pe­ti­tion, those po­ten­tial FTC headaches or di­vesti­ture ef­forts don’t make it the most log­i­cal ac­quir­er of Alex­ion, SVB Leerink’s Ge­of­frey Porges wrote. But that doesn’t mean oth­ers shouldn’t con­sid­er it.

Seiz­ing on the op­por­tu­ni­ty to re­it­er­ate his bull­ish as­sess­ment of Alex­ion, he added that the com­pa­ny should be a prime can­di­date for com­pa­nies with the fire­pow­er to ex­e­cute a siz­able deal — and that $200 per share is a rea­son­able price.

At the end of the day, Porges sur­mised, the un­der­val­u­a­tion of Alex­ion stock was like­ly a rea­son why in­vestors were so ea­ger to seize on­to the ru­mored takeover.

(O)ur the­sis re­mains that if Alex­ion’s stock doesn’t nat­u­ral­ly ap­pre­ci­ate to­wards the range im­plied by this spec­u­la­tion, then ac­qui­si­tion spec­u­la­tion, and in­ter­est, will in­deed sur­face, thus fi­nal­ly gen­er­at­ing pos­i­tive re­turns for the com­pa­ny’s long-suf­fer­ing stock­hold­ers.

Grow­ing ac­cep­tance of ac­cel­er­at­ed path­ways for nov­el treat­ments: but does reg­u­la­to­ry ap­proval lead to com­mer­cial suc­cess?

By Mwango Kashoki, MD, MPH, Vice President-Technical, and Richard Macaulay, Senior Director, of Parexel Regulatory & Access

In recent years, we’ve seen a significant uptake in the use of regulatory options by companies looking to accelerate the journey of life-saving drugs to market. In 2018, 73% of the novel drugs approved by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) were designated under one or more expedited development program categories (Fast Track, Breakthrough Therapy, Priority Review, and Accelerated Approval).ᶦ

Take­da swoops in to buy lit­tle biotech part­ner and its celi­ac drug poised to 'change stan­dard of care'

Having spent three years carefully grooming PvP Biologics and its drug for celiac disease, Takeda is happy enough with the proof-of-concept data to buy it all.

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Bio­gen touts new ev­i­dence from the gene ther­a­py com­pa­ny it wa­gered $800M on

A year ago, Biogen made a big bet on a small gene therapy company. Now they have new evidence one of their therapies could work.

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Mi­cro­bio­me Q&A: New study maps the vagi­na's 'op­ti­mal mi­cro­bio­ta' — and its im­pli­ca­tions for bio­phar­ma

The widely-held notion that the “optimal” vaginal microbiota is dominated by one strain of lactic-acid producing bacteria has now been challenged in a new paper, published in Nature Communications on Wednesday, which used advanced gene sequencing methods to map out the most comprehensive gene catalog of the human vaginal microbiome.

Things have changed in the more than 50 years since the concept of vaginal microbiota transplants was proposed and subsequently tainted by a Texas-based gynecologist who transplanted the vaginal fluid of women who had bacterial vaginosis into healthy females, suspecting he had isolated the bacteria responsible for the condition.

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Fol­low­ing US, Chi­na hos­pi­tal ef­forts, Gilead plots its own PhI­II tri­als for close­ly watched Covid-19 drug

Gilead is launching its own Phase III trials of remdesivir, the repurposed antiviral that a WHO official called the “one drug right now we think may have real efficacy” against Covid-19 as the novel coronavirus originating from Wuhan, China ravages the world.

Announced just a day after the NIH and the University of Nebraska Medical Center registered their US-based trial online, Gilead’s program will comprise two studies enrolling around 1,000 patients beginning in March. They will recruit primarily in Asian countries but will also include patients from other locations with “high numbers of diagnosed cases,” the company said.

Anthony Fauci (AP Images)

UP­DAT­ED: NIH-part­nered Mod­er­na ships off its PhI-ready coro­n­avirus vac­cine can­di­date to a sea of un­cer­tain­ty

Off it goes.

Moderna has shipped the first batch of its mRNA vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 from its manufacturing facility in Norwood, Massachusetts, to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland, for a pioneering Phase I study.

It’s a hectic race against time. In the 42 days since Moderna selected the sequence they would use to develop their vaccine — a record time, no less — the number of confirmed cases around the world has surged astronomically from a few dozen to over 80,000, per WHO and Johns Hopkins estimates.

The candidate that they came up with, mRNA-1273, encodes for a prefusion stabilized form of the spike protein, which gives the virus its crown shape and plays a key role in transmission. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, the Oslo-based group better known as CEPI, funded the manufacture of this batch.

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In at least one life-sci hub, gen­der and di­ver­si­ty ini­tia­tives haven’t made a dent

Gender and racial diversity at the top of UK life science companies has hardly budged over the last seven years despite repeated advocacy efforts, according to a new report.

The report, from the recruiting firm Liftstream, found that 14.8% of directors on life sciences boards were women and 21.1% of top executives were women. That’s a modest bump from the 9.8% of directors and 18.1% of executives Liftstream identified in their last report from 2014. The percentage of women CEOs moved from 8% to 9.8%.

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Will a 'risk-of­f' mind­set has­ten cell ther­a­py M&A? Io­vance surges on buy­out chat­ter

Is it time for some cell therapy M&A?

Investors of Iovance Biotherapeutics certainly thought so, sending its stock $IOVA up as much as 40% after Bloomberg reported that the cancer-focused biotech is talking to potential buyers.

While 2019 saw a number of high-profile gene therapy company takeovers — led by Roche’s $4.3 billion bid of Spark as Astellas went for Audentes, Biogen snapped up Nightstar and Vertex absorbed Exonics — large players appeared to prefer partnering on the cell therapy front, particularly when it comes to cancer. Hal Barron put his weight behind Rick Klausner’s startup as he rebuilt GlaxoSmithKline’s cancer pipeline. Takeda turned to MD Anderson to license their natural killer cell therapy.

One less ri­val for Im­muno­vant, as Alex­ion aban­dons FcRn in­hibitor

Less than one year after Alexion parted with $25 million upfront to secure access to a second anti-FcRn asset, it is abandoning the experimental drug. The discontinuation, disclosed at the SVB Leerink Global Healthcare Conference in New York during a fireside chat, bodes well for rival Immunovant.

The drug (ABY-039), partnered for development with Sweden’s Affibody, was forsaken on the basis of early-stage data that was not viewed favorably, Baird and SVB Leerink analysts noted.